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What to know about import duty in Thailand
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Like any other country, Thailand imposes import duties to protect its domestic industries from cheap imports, generate revenue for the government, and control the flow of goods across her borders. The duty rate or tariff varies from product to product and is based on details such as the material from which it is made and the place where it was manufactured or purchased.

For trading companies who plan to export goods to Thailand, it is essential to know the different import duties that the country imposes on various items. For example, Thailand imposes custom duties of up to 80% on motor vehicles, and 60% on some clothing items.

What are the custom tariff rates for goods in Thailand?

With the exception of certain vaccines, as well as antimalarial and antiretroviral drugs, with reference to Internation Trade Administration, Thailand imposes a 10% custom tariff on almost all other pharmaceutical products, including medications on the World Health Organisation (WHO) list of required  medicines. The country’s Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) custom tariff rates are set within the range of 30% to 50% on imported processed food. Malaysia and Thailand are World Trade Organisation (WTO) country members, which means both countries can access the lowest possible tariffs under MFN status. This is in addition to preferential tariffs under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).

The tariff rate for maize within the quota of 54,700 mt is 20%, while the tariff rate for maize outside this quota is 73%. For example, the type of potatoes used to make frozen fries are not grown in Thailand, but imports of such potato variants would be subject to a 30% duty. Food items such as apples and almonds are subject to 10% tariffs, while prepared almonds, cherries, pears, citrus fruits, and grapes are subject to custom duties of between 30% to 40%.

Since 2004, Thailand has kept the same tariff rate quota list consistent with its obligations under the World trade Organisation (WTO) agriculture agreement. For some of the tariff rate’s quota goods such as non-fat powdered milk, soya beans, and fresh potatoes, Thailand imposes local purchasing requirements.

Determining the customs value of imported goods 

In order to start exporting goods into Thailand, you would need to determine its value to be able to know the amount of taxes you have to pay. The customs procedure – Customs Valuation – is used to determine the value of your goods. In accordance with this, the customs value is derived from the transaction value (TV) – the actual price of the goods paid by the importer. The transaction value (TV) is also reflected in the commercial invoice. 

This technique is applicable to the entire transaction value of the imports, as shown on the shipment's invoice, which implies that the value of the cargo is calculated as a single amount rather than as the total sum of the shipment products. The amount actually paid or payable for the imported goods plus the adjustment under With reference to The Customs Department Customs Standard Procedures and Valuation Bureau, Article 8-16 of MR132 (B.E.2543), as revised by MR145, constitutes the customs value under this method (B.E.2547).

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What is the duty free threshold in Thailand?

When sending packages from Malaysia to Thailand, it’s important to take note that all goods are charged when they enter Thailand. This amount is dependent on the item that’s being imported and its cost. For example, if you’re importing water kettles and each unit costs RM100 and the import duty for electronics is 15%, you would have to pay a total of RM115 to import one kettle into Thailand. ​

There are instances, however, where you would not have to pay import taxes. If the total value of your shipment – calculated based on its cost, insurance and freight (CIF) – is less than the de minimis value of THB 1,500, you are exempt from paying import taxes. 

What goods are subject to customs duties and taxes in Thailand?

Custom duty fees will apply whenever you import goods into foreign territory. Different types of taxes apply, such as customs duties, value-added tax (VAT) and excise tax. 

The value of customs duties – levied under the Customs Act and the Customs Tariff Decree – depends on the category of the product. Classification of imports is based on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System. Thailand has adopted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) 2022  as its import tariff nomenclature. This is based on the Harmonised System (HS) Code, a code developed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO). These duties are based on an ad valorem basis, which is the value of that specific good at that time. Value-added tax (VAT) – taxes levied on the sale of goods – is set at 10% for Thailand. 

It’s important also to note that Malaysia had an existing free trade agreement (FTA) with Thailand under the ASEAN Free Trade Trade Area (AFTA). This means Malaysian exporters shipping goods into Thailand can enjoy lowered tax rates. 

Which goods are exempt from taxation? 

Both the sale of goods and the provision of services are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT). According to PwC Thailand, Exports are not taxed, while some products and services are exempt from import tax (e.g., sale of real estate, rental of immovable property, education, healthcare, basic groceries, and interest).

Which goods are prohibited and restricted? 

The Thai Customs Department restricts certain goods and prohibits others. To ship restricted goods into Thailand, you would have to obtain permits from the respective government agencies. For example, shipping cosmetics requires a licence from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while shipping vehicle parts requires one from the Ministry of Industry. Refer to the full list prepared by Thai customs to check which government agency you would need to apply with. 

The Thai Customs Department also prohibits some items. These are items that exporters are not allowed to bring in and out of the country, and include narcotics, counterfeit trademark goods, fake notes and CITES-listed wildlife. Ensure your shipment adheres to Thai regulations so you can guarantee a successful shipment.  

Exporting Goods into Thailand

If you are running a business looking to export to Thailand, the amount of information required can be daunting. Should you need support in navigating the import duty and tax policies of Thailand, it is recommended to hire a reliable international shipping company with knowledge of customs regulations of different countries such as Thailand to avoid delays in customs clearance by the authorities.